Hollywood film star and rock chick JULIETTE LEWIS paid a stunning visit to Morecambe last week to play a gig at Morecambe Library, of all places. Our reporter LAUREN HOLDEN met the star of ‘Natural Born Killers’ and ‘From Dusk ‘Til Dawn’ in this unusual setting
THE rain is beating down and it’s over an hour until doors open but already swarms of eager fans are huddled outside Morecambe Library.
And they’re not waiting to check out the latest Harry Potter book.
Tonight in Morecambe, one of Hollywood’s finest will be performing live and it’s without a doubt the hottest ticket in town.
Announced only a fortnight ago, the ‘Get it Loud in Libraries’ gig will see A-Lister Juliette Lewis (known for her roles in Natural Born Killers and Cape Fear) perform on the humble library stage.
Arriving at the venue, Juliette shows few signs of her celebrity status, happily posing for photographs before being whisked off for a sound check.
Such is the rock ‘n’ roll life. Juliette has barely touched down on Morecambe soil after a gruelling journey from America, when she’s thrust into the media spotlight.
“I’ve been thinking about this show for weeks actually,” she enthuses.
“Just the idea of having a rock ‘n’ show in a library is very funny. I love it. And this library’s really beautiful.”
Having ‘prepared herself’ by watching online clips of Lancaster Library’s ‘Get it Loud’ gigs, Juliette is eager to take to the stage later.
“I saw a film of one of these gigs and it sounded incredible, “she explained.
“That’s what you want to know as a musician – that it’s gonna sound good.
“The sound is pretty massive. It’s bigger and more rocking than some little rock clubs.”
But, believe it or not, it’s not the only ‘unusual’ location that Juliette has played in.
“You wouldn’t believe where I’ve played – I’ve played a casino, on a boat in Amsterdam, even a lunch cafeteria in a school.
“I love doing anything new and untried because that’s what I’ve been doing on this little rock and roll journey.
“I really love all these peculiar places – it’s one of my favourite aspects of touring.”
That said, she’s quick to admit she hasn’t set foot inside a library for “a very long time”, let alone performed in one.
“I can’t even remember when I checked a book out of a library,” she says.
“Recently, I picked my mum up from a library – but I was only in the parking lot. That doesn’t count.
“I hope libraries are not a dying medium, because it’s kind of nice.”
With new album, ‘Terra Incognita’ out in September this year, Juliette is keen to give fans in Morecambe a taster of her material and makes it clear her musical career is no hobby.
“I think after five years, three records and touring the globe three or four times, you could say I’m very serious about this.
“The music is a very personal endeavour in that I oversee everything, from the cover art of the albums, leading my band and the lyrics. It’s very fulfilling.
“Now, when I do movies I’m like: ‘phew’ – and it gets kind of boring very quickly.
“For the first couple of weeks I’m like: ‘wow, this is easy breezy’ and I can sort of relax, as I’m not the boss, or making business decisions.
“But I love the whole process (of making music) and I love writing the songs. ‘Terra Incognita’ is a proper record. The sounds are a bit different – the guitar’s more atmospheric and strange and it’s less straight up rock and roll. I’m kind of happy with the set.”
It’s certainly clear Juliette’s raring to go.
“I’m expecting to turn everybody into 10-year-olds (tonight), where they wanna rip the books off the shelves – but we’re not going to.”
Playing to a relatively small crowd in a tiny seaside resort is undoubtedly a far cry from Juliette’s star studded life, but it’s clear from the off that she’s very much looking forward to the show.
“(I love) that connection with people. It’s really special and deep and I think music is spiritual – I love it.”
Such is Juliette’s commitment to the band, she’s even had to turn down the odd film role.
“At the very beginning I did (turn down roles) a lot, as I wanted to tour like any young band would tour.
“I only had Christmas and a couple of weekends off, but I was happy to do that.
“I made movies for 15 years, you know. I have done some movies recently, but I really wanted to take care of the music and the band and find my audience.”
For now, though, Juliette’s audience is right here in Morecambe and by the look of things, she couldn’t have hoped for a better one.
When she arrives on stage just before 9pm (following a fantastic support set by Brighton’s Telegraphs), Juliette’s all smiles as she’s greeted by her adoring fans.
Sporting skin-tight trousers, silver top and black fingerless gloves, she swaggers about the stage, leaping into the throng, high-fiving the audience and planting kisses on unsuspecting fans.
“Has anyone played here before?” she asks.
“Only me? That’s what I like to hear!”
Joking that we’re ‘in detention’, Juliette shouts: “I think we all got a bit misty-eyed up here, but we put some energy back into these books” before thanking Morecambe for their hospitality.
“Thanks for having me! I love the name, Morecambe. It sounds Medieval, right?”
Later, Juliette and her band stick around to sign autographs and pose for photos.
Nineteen-year-old Lizzy Nicholson and 23-year-old Jenny Woodhouse have been manning Juliette’s merchandise stall.
“It was a really good gig,” says Lizzy, “It’s a shame some people missed it because it was amazing!”
Jenny adds: “It was really energetic and everyone was enjoying themselves. It was so fun.”
David Crossley from Ulverston was one of the lucky few to be kissed by Juliette. “Did you see that?,” he asks.
“It was amazing, fully exhilarating. I’m going to marry the bass player and stalk the band to Italy.”
Stewart Parsons, organiser of Get it Loud in Libraries is thrilled with the night.
“Juliette Lewis delivered glamour, class and great rock ‘n’ roll that showcased what Get it Loud is all about”, he beams.
“It’s all about giving people in a library a great time and making libraries irresistible.”